My Home Inspector is offering a 5-point inspection and saying that he is using the Standard from your site at this link here
The page that comes up states that the standard was not intended to be a replacement for a residential home inspection and may place me at risk.
Should I be using this inspector?
We hoped that the page you referred to was abundantly clear, but as it appears we failed, let us spell it out for you.
The Limited Scope Inspection is NOT an Industry Standard, which requires much more of the Home Inspector. It was designed to provide a means for people in the Insurance Industry and in the Finance Sector to obtain an opinion on the condition of a property that help them decide the suitability of the property to insure or lend money on.
This shortened scope is not designed as a means to supplant the full scope of a Standard Home Inspection, and any inspector performing this type of inspection should be doing so EITHER for those professions it was designed for (i.e. Finance and Insurance) OR as a consumer protection service when a full inspection is not able to be performed.
This latter situation arises when Realtors deliberately generate a multiple bid scenario to try to elevate the price of a home and/or shorten the sales cycle.
The Realtors in this situation are working in the best interests of their clients (the sellers) but are providing a situation that often prevents the buyers from fulfilling their requirements of the “Caveat Emptor” principle that applies to Real-Estate.
The risk you, as a Consumer, are exposed to when asking for an inspection of this type is that with a limited scope, there may be items that are not inspected that could create unforeseen expenditure after the sale goes through. While this is still the case with a Full Home Inspection, the limited scope increases that risk.
A limited scope inspection, however, poses less of a risk than no inspection at all or of a verbal inspection that does not provide you with a written report PRIOR to the sale being agreed.
The choice on whether to engage a Home Inspector providing this service should not be based upon the scope of the inspection itself but on the professionalism the inspector approaches that scope.
If the Inspector provides you with a contract that details the scope and its limitations, explains to you that it is not as comprehensive as a standard home inspection and advises you that if possible you should choose a full inspection, then we would see no reason why you should not employ them.
You should of course check their credentials as well to ensure they are a bonafide Professional Home Inspector. Here in Ontario, Inspectors carrying the CCHI, RHI and NHI designations are generally better trained and audited than others.
You might also like to check they belong to an Association based either in Ontario (OntarioACHI or OAHI) or elsewhere in Canada with Ontario Provincial reach (i.e. a National Association such as CAHPI or PHPIC)
You should also check they are insured for errors & omissions and have a police background check and they they use a reporting system that is easy to read and understand and provide photos and/or videos as part of their service.
If the only option from an inspector is a 5-point inspection, or they are offering verbal or walk-through inspections PRIOR to you making a decision on whether to purchase or not, even with a promise of a full written inspection after the sale has gone through, then our opinion may be different.
Remember, a 5-point limited inspection is NOT a Full Standards based home inspection, but it is far better than no inspection at all and better still than a verbal inspection or walk-through that gives you no written report for you to leverage but still costs you money.